When is a colony established

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jhcox
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse
Martin Colony History: Started colony in 2014. First pair to stay and raise young in 2018.

I had 10 pair last year and I’m just wondering how many pair do you have to have to be an established colony to where the percentage of chance that they will come back the next year is higher. The scout map is showing that colonies have returned all around me in the Knoxville area and surrounding counties. But I have not seen anything at my site except tree swallows. ??? Am I just over anxious. Thanks in advance.
G Saner
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: TX/Kerrville
Martin Colony History: Fort Worth, TX (1967-1976), The Colony, TX (1981-1985), Carrollton, TX (1986-2013), Kerrville, TX (2015-present).

Two SuperGourd poles (12 gourds on each) at River Point Assisted Living Center.

Excellent topic. Here are some dates from my own colony to help you feel better. The colony is now in year five. The first year, I didn't see the first martin until March 29th. Year two, the first martin was spotted March 18th. The colony was founded by one ASY male. That year three SY pair joined him. So their weren't that many older martins to return in the second season. The second year, there were 11 pair (6 ASY and 5 SY). I think that is why the arrival date the second year was not much earlier than the first (the 6 adult males were most likely ASY for the first time).

The third and fourth year, the arrivals were February 19th and February 14th. Those years jumped to 21 and 22 pair. This year, the first martin arrived even earlier (February 9th). I think as my colony aged, so did the age of the martins leading to earlier arrivals.

I would not be worried. Most likely, your 10 pair last year were younger birds. In answer to your question, I would say my colony was "established" at the end of year 3.

Gary
G Saner
jhcox
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse
Martin Colony History: Started colony in 2014. First pair to stay and raise young in 2018.

Thanks Gary. I did have some young birds but 6 pair were adult birds the males were fully purple. But I hope they return soon this waiting for the Martins is worse than being a little kid waiting on Christmas. Thanks again.
KathyMor
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Hill Country, Texas
Martin Colony History: First PM house assembled and put up 2/19. Nature House Grandpa 12 converted to 6 apartments.

This is my second year. We live a bit southeast of Kerrville, TX and outside of Boerne. We had a few PMs last year, arriving about 5 April. I'm guessing they were subadults that came over from a neighbor's established house that is only 100+ feet away. My question is if we leave our PM house closed until the PMs arrive, how much time do we have to get it open before they give up and leave? Will we see them perching on the house for at least a day or two and flying around? Not sure our neighbor will get his house cleaned out this year and there are house sparrows nesting in it right now. I want to avoid attracting house sparrows to take up residence before the PMs arrive. I know we had some in our house last year by the variety of nests when we cleaned the house this spring. But we definitely had 2-3 pairs of PMs too.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2931
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I read a report years ago that said strictly based on statistics you need to have at least 6 pair to ensure you will have returnees the following year. Obviously nothing is guaranteed in nature but once you have at least 6 pair at least a few of them will survive the migration and make it back. Those first couple years with only a pair or two, there are a lot of things that could happen to the martins in the course of a season.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

10 pair last year, you're established. Just keep looking up.
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
G Saner
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: TX/Kerrville
Martin Colony History: Fort Worth, TX (1967-1976), The Colony, TX (1981-1985), Carrollton, TX (1986-2013), Kerrville, TX (2015-present).

Two SuperGourd poles (12 gourds on each) at River Point Assisted Living Center.

Kathy,

If any of your martins from last year return, they will wait some time until you open their house. However, it is mid-March and I would open it now. You will need to fight the sparrows after the martins return anyway.

Gary
G Saner
G Saner
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: TX/Kerrville
Martin Colony History: Fort Worth, TX (1967-1976), The Colony, TX (1981-1985), Carrollton, TX (1986-2013), Kerrville, TX (2015-present).

Two SuperGourd poles (12 gourds on each) at River Point Assisted Living Center.

There is a good article about Purple Martin Age-specific return schedules from the Spring 2003 Update Vol. 12(2).

https://www.purplemartin.org/uploads/me ... s1-371.pdf
G Saner
Whippy
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: 2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 67 fledged

G,

I looked at your Bio. Small world. I lived in Kerrville in 1983 to 1986 attended Schreiner College which I think has a different name by now.

I Lived in Carrollton from 1999 to 2006 at Josey Ln and George Bush behind the Comerica Bank. If you walked to the North West corner of the vacant lot behind the bank you would look directly into my back yard. I was covered up in Doves back there. I've since moved to Plano where I currently reside.

Kerrville brings back many great memories. The Long Branch was where we hung out. Slid down Ingram dam, fished the Guadalupe relentlessly. Drank beer everywhere. Good times back in 83.

Sorry for the slight thread jack.

Back on topic: As you said, I agree should open cavities now as there is a flood of Martins coming into Texas.

Coolwips.
G Saner
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: TX/Kerrville
Martin Colony History: Fort Worth, TX (1967-1976), The Colony, TX (1981-1985), Carrollton, TX (1986-2013), Kerrville, TX (2015-present).

Two SuperGourd poles (12 gourds on each) at River Point Assisted Living Center.

Whippy,

It's called Schreiner University now. My colony is directly across the river from the campus. The current version of Google Maps was taken in January so the gourds are stored at home but you can see the shadow of the two poles. My Carrollton colony was at Josey and Hebron. The final connection is that I worked in Plano (Preston and Plano Parkway) from 1985 to 2005.

According to the article above, martins come back in age order. My guess is that Mr. Cox has 3 or 4 year old birds and some of his neighbors have 5 or 6 year old (or older) martins.

Gary
G Saner
jhcox
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 9:23 am
Location: tennesse
Martin Colony History: Started colony in 2014. First pair to stay and raise young in 2018.

So the older the birds the sooner they arrive to the colonies? Well I have only had nesting pairs for two years. Took 2 or 3 years just to see the first bird that started staying the night in the cavities. First nesting pair was 2018 and several others staying all night but not pairing up. Then my matriarchs returned last year and started nesting then a couple weeks later I come home and there are probably 20 to 30 birds out of those 9 more pairs nested and fledged young. There were several other pairs that tried to nest maybe layed 1 or 2 eggs then left the nest I’m assuming that these few were very young birds that just weren’t sure what to do. I’ll keep looking.
Brad Biddle
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:22 pm
Location: Marshall County AL

Not to try and cause you to worry but it is not common for Martins to lay and egg or two then leave. If that’s the case then you had predation of some sort. Not a snake, it would have eaten the eggs
Martin landlord since 2003. Currently offering 132 plastic gourds with tunnels and all SREH.
KathyMor
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Hill Country, Texas
Martin Colony History: First PM house assembled and put up 2/19. Nature House Grandpa 12 converted to 6 apartments.

Gary--Opened up the house today. Just in time as our neighbor's PMs returned either yesterday or today. About 5 birds so far. Thanks for your reply.

Kathy
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